Edition: Thu, February 01, 2007
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Rapid Equipping Force

What is it? Rapid Equipping Force (REF) is an agent for institutional change that rapidly provides commanders and Soldiers with cutting-edge solutions that increase lethality, improve force protection and enhance survivability. The REF is a Staff Support Agency assigned to the Army Asymmetric Warfare Office which reports directly to the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (G3). The REF mission is to assess Army business practices, desired capabilities, and acquisition techniques to effect institutional Army change; insert future force technologies and surrogates to validate concepts and speed capabilities to the warfighter; and equip operational commanders with commercial-off-the-shelf and government-off-the-shelf solutions in order to increase effectiveness and reduce risk. It works one-on-one with deployed units and those ready to deploy to find solutions to immediate equipping needs. The REF accomplishes its mission by partnering with U.S. Army Material Command, industry, academia, Army senior leaders, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Army acquisition community, and the Army Test and Evaluation Command to meet immediate Warfighter needs. A primary REF task is to focus on counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) solutions and to directly support the Joint IED Defeat Organization and the Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group. In its General Support role to the Army, REF forward teams quickly identify and evaluate deployed force needs and desired capabilities. The REF develops and rapidly acquires appropriate solutions while documenting a streamlined methodology for acquisition with the cooperation and oversight of the Army Acquisition Executive.

What has the Army done? To date, the REF has introduced 209 different types of equipment, providing more than 47,400 items to units supporting Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, as well as to units deployed to remote locations worldwide. REF solutions include: robots like the MARCBOT and PACBOT for interrogating caves and suspicious packages for booby traps and improvised explosive devices; personnel and vehicle scanning systems; hearing conservation and communication devices; persistent surveillance systems; digital translators for Soldiers to communicate with locals in their own language; explosive material detectors; and many more. REF adaptive practices are at the forefront of Army modernization and serve as a catalyst and change agent for Army transformation.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The REF is an agent for institutional change and the Army will continue to rely upon the REF as a means to rapidly provide combat commanders with cutting-edge solutions to increase lethality, improve force protection and enhance survivability. The REF mission extends beyond OIF and OEF to support Army units and personnel deployed worldwide.

Why is this important to the Army? These solutions may result in procurement of new or existing military/commercial materiel equipment, or accelerated development of a future force materiel solution for insertion into the current force now. The REF support to the Joint IED Defeat Organization saves Soldiers' lives by providing greater force protection. By researching and developing counter IED material solutions the REF is providing our Soldiers with modern technology faster than the standard acquisition process. The REF will remain a key initiative to the Army in support of the Global War on Terrorism.